With an elaborately shaped apron, slender legs and diminutive ball-and-claw feet, the tea table offered here exemplifies the restrained elegance of Boston's early Chippendale furniture. Unlike most surviving tray-top tea tables which employ an applied molding to form the decorative shaping, this tea table has its rails shaped. The feet carving reveals a distinctive style with a virtually complete ball, talons that almost meet each other underneath, a perpendicular drop after the first knuckle and slender rear talon. A closely related table exhibits identical foot carving and may be the work of the same carver (John Walton ad, Antiques (November 1957), p.384).
At least four other tables display similarly shaped rails with differences among the carved feet and knee returns were probably made by competing shops. One, now in the collection of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, was purchased by Judge Jonathan Sayard of York, Maine probably in the year 1759 and remained in his house until the 1870s when it is pictured in a contemporary photograph (Jobe and Kaye, New England Furniture (Boston, 1984), pp. 288-289, p. 277). For the other tables in this group, see Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury, vol. 1 (Framingham, Massachusetts, 1928), no. 1102; Jobe and Kaye, p. 289, fn. 1.